Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) told Breitbart News Daily on Thursday about his legislation that would notify the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency about illegal immigrants who attempt to purchase a firearm.
In February, Cline, a freshman congressman from Virginia, introduced H.R. 1397, the Notify ICE Act, which would require that law enforcement inform ICE when an illegal immigrant is denied the ability to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Virginia Republican previously introduced the legislation as an amendment to a criminal background bill, H.R., which passed through the House in February. House Republicans won a surprise victory during the vote on H.R. 8 when they managed to flip 26 Democrats to vote for a motion to recommit on the amendment to notify ICE about illegal aliens’ attempt to purchase firearms.
Twenty-two of the 26 Democrats who voted for the motion to recommit represent districts that President Donald Trump won during the 2016 presidential election. Eighteen of the 26 Democrats serve as freshman Democrats who won during the Democrats’ “blue wave” during the 2018 midterm elections.
Cline told Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow how, given the bipartisan support for the bill, he will push for the legislation as a standalone bill.
Cline said, “What we did was try to clarify that the Democrats really aren’t about any kind of safety measures that they’re talking about when they push these gun control measures. They’re just about abridging our fundamental and constitutional rights to bear arms. So, when we put in a measure that says you know it’s actually a danger when you have criminals coming across the border trying to obtain more firearms and commit more crimes, we should actually notify ICE when they do that so that they’re deported. Democrats said, ‘no, no, no, no, we don’t want to actually know these people are here,’ we want them to continue to stay to continue to commit crimes and so they defeated my amendment but, we brought it back on the floor, were successful in convincing [about] 30 Democrats to vote with us, so it passed. But, I want it as a standalone bill, I want that gun control measure dead, and we’re going to continue to push it as a standalone bill.”
The Virginia Republican also noted how the number one reason for rejecting a background check for firearm purchases is illegal immigration status.
“It shows the hypocrisy. And that category [illegal alien status] is the number one category that results in the rejection of a background check is the fact that a person is here illegally or has illegal status in the country. And we need to address it. We need law enforcement agencies to talk to each other, and it’s not a ridiculous concept. But, the Democrats said no, we could not have ‘ICE actually aware of these people to deport them,” Cline revealed.
Rep. Cline said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) supports the legislation and that many leftist groups will likely oppose the bill because they believe that anything that ends up in deporting illegal aliens violates their moral framework.
“The NRA is supporting the bill, and we are pleased with that. I’m assuming that all of the groups that have defended the illegal immigrants throughout this process are going to be opposed to this because it seems as though anything results in increase deportation of illegal immigrants is something that’s wrong in their view, so I’m assuming they’ll be against it,” Cline said.
Cline, a former Virginia House of Delegates representative, said that he hails from the greater Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia where they respect law enforcement, whereas many Democrats have embraced “lawlessness.” Congressman Cline said that because the bill received so much Democrat support, it should be sponsored as its own bill.
“Because it already received bipartisan support throughout the House, it got over 25 Democrats to support it, we hope that we can convince leadership that it deserves to stand on its own merits,” Cline said.
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